[L.E. Leone says she's switching to fiction for a bit & is that a problem in Robert Frost's Banjo terms? Not at all, I say. Please check this 0ut!]
First I thought—I was taught that soul was something dead people had, how Grandpa Rubino got to be with God even though there he was, plain as daisies, in the coffin, open, closed, down in dirt.
I was a religious kid. I heard a lot of talk, a lot of words, some of which were “soul.” We knelt, we sat, we stood, tried to see things. The dark space between the skin and the fabric, was that where soul was? Or white on the tongue, in the back of the throat, the scream, forming.
For the longest time I thought that soul was what made poetry so goddamn poetic, art artsy, and so on. I read a lot, wrote some stories, and tried in general to be soulful.
Then I was sure that soul was all about music, man. I mean, think about it: the song of the tissue-comb harmonica.
Tried drugs. That was something, but not soul.
Next came soul food, which was a happy, fun, and filling if not fulfilling period of my life. Full-feeling? Not a lot of enlightenment, no but: fried chicken! Biscuits, barbecue, greens, beans. Smothered pork chops. Gravy. This was a happy, fun, and fulfilling period of my life (did I say that?)—only instead of immortality . . . high cholesterol.
Now I would like to have a child. I feel empty inside sometimes. My biology says to have a kid. It’s in you to do this, it says. It’s body chemistry and hormones. Ooga, I will love my child. It will look like me, like us. We will try to be good parents. But is this soul? Creating a body with our bodies, another body with another brain to try and figure out about soul? My body, on my best days, says, “Maybe.”